Thanks to 2-year-old Brandon, all seven members of the Dahl family survived a deadly house fire occurring in the early hours of the morning, when the family was still fast asleep. Had the toddler not alerted his parents, they might have never known.
The first line of defense, their trusty smoke detectors, weren’t working properly and didn’t sound the alarm. On top of that, Nathan and Kayla Dahl had recently tested positive for COVID and had lost all sense of taste and smell.
Both of these facts could have made for a devastating situation, but thankfully little Brandon was able to ensure that didn’t happen. Around 4:30 a.m., he wandered into his parent’s bedroom and woke up Kayla.
“He tapped me on my feet in bed and was coughing and saying, ‘Mama, hot. Mama, hot!'” shares Kayla. Due to Brandon feeling unwell, she had put him to sleep in the living room, so as to more easily check on him throughout the night. At first, the tired mama thought her sick toddler was wanting out of his pajamas, or less blankets to sleep with.
But Kayla quickly caught a glimpse of the situation in the other room. “I turned around,” Kayla tells reporters. “I looked and all I saw was flames in the doorway.” The Decatur Fire Department believes the fire was started by a gas heater in the living room, where Brandon was sleeping.
Luckily, ‘hot’ was one of the few words the 2-year-old had added to his vocabulary. Nathan, who happens to be a volunteer firefighter at the Alvord Fire Department, told WFAA-TV the family’s fire emergency plan helped them to escape in under a minute. “We’ve had a plan,” he stated. “This is how everything’s going to go.”
The toddler’s warning and the family’s emergency preparedness allowed them to reach safety in the nick of time. “About maybe a minute after we got out of the house, our front door had flames coming out of it,” Nathan told WFAA-TV. “Everything was in flames.”
Sadly, the one-story colonial home in Alvord, TX was completely engulfed in flames. Despite the incredible loss, the family feels grateful.
“It’s going to be a long, hard road to get to be where we need to be and to replace those material items,” Kayla told the Washington Post. “But at the same time, if it wasn’t for my son’s guardian angel that morning, I don’t know where we would be.”
The family has had some help from their community in getting back on their feet, receiving thousands of dollars in assistance thanks to an online fundraising campaign. Brandon has also become a mini celebrity in their community.
“I don’t think he quite understands the impact of what he did,” Kayla told WTVR. “But he’s relishing the abundance of attention. If we go to Walmart or the gas station and somebody recognizes us from the news, they’ll pat him on the back and try to shake his hand [saying], ‘You’re a hero! I’m so happy to meet a hero!'”
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